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Superintendent seeks change after high school’s female field hockey player hurt by male player

Adidas field hockey shoes are shown June 23, 2023, during the Pro League Women match between Holland Women v Germany Women at the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen, Netherlands (Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images)

(WISH) — A Massachusetts superintendent is speaking out as a female field hockey player from Dighton-Rehoboth High School in North Dighton, Massachusetts, recovers from facial injuries suffered when a shot from a male player hit her in the mouth last week.

The incident happened with three minutes left in the third quarter of a game.

“Seeing it happen to one of our players, especially if you listen to the audio, it’s bone-chilling,” Dighton Rehoboth Superintendent Bill Runey told WHDH in Boston. “For any male participating in a female sport, there are absolutely no restrictions, and that’s a big concern.”

The incident has sparked concerns from community members and the school district about the safety of female players who are playing against male students in co-ed sports.

In a statement, Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) said that “the association and member schools must adhere to all federal and state laws to assure equitable opportunities for students of different sexes or genders.”

The statement added “A girl may play on a boys’ team if that sport is not offered in the school for the girl, and a boy may play on a girls’ team if that sport is not offered in the school for the boy. Boys have been competing on girls’ teams, and girls have been competing on boys’ teams, for more than forty (40) years.”

The student who was hit has been released from the hospital but will need extensive dental work and has a long road to recovery, Runey told WHDH.

Kelsey Bain, a captain on the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, posted a letter Sunday to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association on the X platform.

“I understand that the MIAA is adhering to the Massachusetts Equal Rights Amendment, but continuously using the law as a scapegoat for criticism and issues regarding this topic is unacceptable,” Bain wrote.